The most advanced Covid variant ever is the ‘Horrific. ‘could be worse than Delta’

The ‘horrific” new Covid variant is the latest and most advanced, and experts warn it could be worse than Delta.

The spread of Delta has forced several countries to reintroduce restrictive measures after it was quickly spread. This also caused the UK to postpone Freedom Day for the summer.

A new variant has been found in three countries - with experts monitoring

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Three countries have a new variant of the same type – experts are monitoring.Credit: AFP

Although there are few cases, virologists have discovered that the strain, B.1.1.529, has 32 mutations.

Many of these could increase the likelihood that the variant will escape vaccines faster and spread quicker. This is why it is still a concern, despite its low incidence.

Francois Balloux is Professor of Computational Systems Biology, Director, UCL Genetics Institute. He stated: “I would certainly expect it to not be recognised by neutralising antibodies relative Alpha or Delta.”  

“It’s difficult to predict how transmissible it might be at this stage.

“For the time being, it should be closely monitored and analysed, but there is no reason to get overly concerned, unless it starts going up in frequency in the near future.”

It is believed to be an offshoot from an older variant, B.1.1. It has been discovered in South Africa and Botswana, as well as Hong Kong.

Alpha, which put the UK in lockdown right before Christmas last year, had a lineage that included B.1.17.

While only ten cases of this new variant have been discovered so far in the United States, experts suspect there could be many more.

It could be faster at spreading vaccines or escape them more easily, which could lead to problems. Experts recommend caution though.

Hong Kong’s infection was caused by an infected person who had traveled from South Africa. This raised fears that the infection could spread to other parts of the world.

Dr Tom Peacock of Imperial College was a virologist who tweeted about the discovery. He said it was the first instance he had seen two specific mutations in one variant.

Expert described the mutation profile for the coronavirus as “really awful”.

He said, “Exporting to Asia suggests that this may be more common than just sequences would indicate.”

“Also, the very long branches and high number of spike mutations indicate this could be of concern (predicted escape of most monoclonal antibodies).

“Worth emphasising this is at super low numbers right now in a region of Africa that is fairly well sampled, however it very very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile (would take a guess that this would be worse antigenically than nearly anything else about).”

The most advanced Covid variant ever is the 'Horrific. ‘could be worse than Delta’

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Professor Lawrence Young is a Warwick Medical School Virolologist. MailOnlineIt “looks like”This variant could be better at avoiding vaccine immunity.

He added, “It’s always hard to say just looking at.” [mutations]This is dependent on how the immune response to the change perceives it.

“But it seems like it’s just because of the severe loads of [mutations] — some of which we know about quite a bit in terms of harming transmission — it looks like it might be slightly more worrying than the South African variant.”

The new variant contains mutations K417N & E484A, which are related to previous strains that were capable of avoiding vaccines.

It also contains the N440K found on Delta and S477N on New York variants, which are both linked to antibody escape. 

It also contains the mutation N501Y, which makes viruses more transmissible. This mutation was previously observed on the fast-spreading Alpha version.

There are many variants of the same thing, but they don’t tend to spread across a lot of cases.

They can quickly become extinct if they are found in a country with a stronger variant.

Dr Meera Chand is the Covid-19 Incident director at the UKHSA. She said: In partnership with scientists around the world, the UK Health Security Agency continuously monitors the status of SARS CoV-2 variants as new ones emerge.

“As viruses are known to mutate frequently and at random, it is not uncommon for small numbers to be characterized by new mutations.

“Any variants showing evidence of spread are rapidly assessed.”

A spokesperson from UKSHA said that they are investigating and monitoring this variant.

The most advanced Covid variant ever is the 'Horrific. ‘could be worse than Delta’

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Scientists believe that super dominant Delta has already mutated into self-extinction in one region of the world.

Japan has 140 cases per day, despite having been infected with the Delta strain for three months.

Japan endured its largest Covid wave in the late summer, with cases peaking at around 23,000 a day in August.

The wave has slowed to an abrupt halt and is now almost dead. Tokyo only recorded 16 new cases last Friday.

Japanese genetic experts have suggested that the sudden drop in coronavirus has been caused by Delta mutating. 

Delta was already far more transmissible than the original “Wuhan”China strain of the virus will be available in late 2019

And other variations of Delta have been shown to cause fewer symptoms, carry immune-escaping mutations, or be even more fast-spreading.

UK Covid deaths drop by a third within a fortnight, as 165 people are killed. However, cases increase by 30% after 42.484 positive tests.

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